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 50% cover pledge vague in revised forest policy, says Teresa Kok

Free Malaysia Today (18/04/2021) - PETALING JAYA: Former primary industries minister Teresa Kok says the Malaysian Forestry Policy (MFP) 2021 is vague and has failed to underline the government’s way forward to commit to a pledge to retain 50% forest cover for the country.

She said this was in spite of the document being deliberated since 2016.

“The word 50% appeared only once in the MFP and that too in the background section. And this merely states that, up to now, Malaysia has maintained its 1992 Rio Earth Summit commitment,” she said in a statement today.

Teresa, who is also MP for Seputeh, noted that the Barisan Nasional government had pledged to retain 50% of its land mass as forests at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

However, the ministry overlooked the commitment when it revised the 1978 policy.

“And it would seem that this commitment is still not making it to the latest revision of this foremost forestry policy of the country after nearly 30 years.”

Kok said the weak policy would fuel doubts and speculation surrounding the country’s land-use policies with regard to environmental protection and sustainability of the country’s timber, oil palm and rubber products.

“The country has invested money, time and effort to correct its image internationally but gains from such efforts will be cancelled out if we fail to support them with clear domestic policies,” she added.

The European Union (EU) is set to implement further restrictions over environmental issues, including mass deforestation, affecting companies and producing countries, including Malaysia.

The government has been battling the EU’s anti-palm oil stance, taking the necessary steps and implementing environmental control measures to ensure compliance with sustainability guidelines.

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